Who Owns The Elgin Marbles Precis

1124 words 5 pages
“Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?” – The Précis

“Who Owns the Elgin Marbles?” this question continues to linger in some minds today, and just so happens to be reviewed in the respectfully titled article written by John Henry Merryman in 1986. In this article, Merryman, in the most unbiased way possible, assesses both Britain’s and Greece’s side of the argument pertaining to the ownership of the Elgin Marbles and whether they should be returned to Greece after being removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century. Within the article, the main points discussed regard the morality and legality of the removal of the marbles. Merryman goes on to discuss three more main concerns dealing with the marbles and where they belong:
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The evidence clearly states not. Any sculptures remaining on the Parthenon have been eroded by exposure to a variety of hazards including natural disasters and the smog Athens seems to be known for. It is obvious that, in their own room in the best museum in London, the marbles are not put in any immediate danger in the care of the British. Even if the Greeks have a museum they plan to put the marbles in, who’s to say they will necessarily be safer there? The preservation of the marbles holds no argument for moving the marbles back to Greece. It is argued, correctly, that it makes sense to move the marbles back to Greece when integrity is involved, because the parts of the Parthenon are worth less when separated, but the marbles cannot be reinstalled on the Parthenon anyways, so again, what is the point? The masterpiece is better dismembered and protected than together and destroyed. For this reason, it cannot really be argued that the marbles be returned to the Parthenon. Distribution is another international concern brought to the table regarding the marbles. Should the marbles all be returned to Greece and not shared with the rest of the world? It is argued that the world would be culturally impoverished if the marbles were returned to and kept in Athens. Lord Elgin removed the marbles to Britain, because he enjoyed Greek art and wanted to spread it around the world. He in no way wanted to stake claim on the

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